Intel Labs recently released a research paper at the 2020 International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, which discusses the major technical aspects of Intel’s new cryogenic quantum control chip, Horse Ridge.
Horse Ridge offers impressive technical capabilities, essentially taking care of all of the issues that pertain to the design of a powerful quantum system. It provides the quantum chip with enough potential to showcase quantum fidelity, scalability, as well as flexibility.
This chip was developed under the collaboration of Intel Labs and QuTech. It answers a lot of questions related to quantum chip development.
The world of quantum research is still in its juvenile stage. Application of quantum computing to real-world problems relies on the potential to scale to control thousands of qubits with high levels of fidelity all at the same time.
Horse Ridge solves the complications related to control electronics needed to operate quantum systems. It uses a highly integrated System-on-Chip (SoC) that narrows down the setup time, increases the efficiency of scaling to larger qubits, and improves qubit performance.
● Scalability: The SoC design incorporated in this chip integrates four Radio Frequency (RF) channels in a single device. The design is implemented with the help of Intel’s 22nm FFL CMOS technology. With the help of this SoC, every single channel controls 32 qubits by leveraging a technique called “frequency multiplexing.”
The use of these four channels enables Horse Ridge to control up to 128 qubits through a single device. This brings down the number of rack instrumentations and cables to a considerable level.
● Fidelity: As the count of qubit goes up, it leads to a number of problems that challenge both the operation and capacity of a quantum system. One of the biggest consequence of higher qubits is a decline in qubit performance and fidelity. While developing the Horse Ridge, Intel incorporated the multiplexing technology that allows the system to measure and reduce errors resulting from “phase shift.”
Horse Ridge leverages various frequencies that can be “tuned” with highest precision. This allows the quantum system to adapt as well as automatically modify the errors from the phase shift and improving the qubit gate
● Flexibility: Horse Ridge is able to cover a wide range of frequency, this allows control of both spin qubits and superconducting qubits. Superconducting qubits normally operate at a frequency range of 6 to 7 GHz while spin qubits work at a range of 13 to 20 GHz.
For now, Intel is looking into the scope of silicon spin qubits that can work even when temperature goes as high as 1 Kelvin. This new research will allow integration of Horse Ridge’s cryogenic controls with silicon spin qubit devices to create a solution capable of delivering both controls and qubits in a single streamlined package.
As Jim Clarke, the director of quantum hardware at Intel Labs, puts it: “Today, quantum researchers work with just a small number of qubits, using smaller, custom-designed systems surrounded by complex control and interconnect
mechanisms. Intel’s Horse Ridge greatly minimizes this complexity. By systematically working to scale to thousands of qubits required for quantum practicality, we-re continuing to make steady progress toward making commercially viable quantum computing a reality in our future.”
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